Announce a mistake in advance

I made a video as part of a new series I’m doing, Quick Tricks for Creative Living (note: I can’t decide if the name for this series sucks, so I might change it in the future*) (I’m already demonstrating the power of this exercise by announcing a potential mistake in advance!) 

These are short, easy exercises you can try as you’re going about your day, to help you diffuse obstacles, reframe expectations and engage creatively and proactively with the challenges life is throwing at you.


I don’t know about you, but I hate making mistakes. I’m a recovering perfectionist and an oldest child so I get stuck in “if I’m not doing everything right I’m LETTING THE TEAM DOWN” narratives.

That’s why I was so delighted when someone in one of my workshops had this idea (as a way to deal with stress at work), to pre-emptively neutralize criticism by announcing what you might do wrong before you do it.

So say you’re stacking a bunch of onions in a display case. You would announce to everyone around you, “I am about to arrange these onions precariously so it’s impossible to take one out without sending them all rolling.”

When this idea first came up, we all cackled at the idea, and then had a blast thinking up examples.

I am about to awkwardly introduce myself to that woman over there.

Hold on, I need to try and parallel park and end up 3 feet away from the curb.

I am heading out to a meeting, and will take the most roundabout, least straightforward way and hopefully get stuck in traffic on the way.

The more examples we came up with, the more I started to think it might actually be a brilliant idea. So I’ve been trying it out since then, and without fail, it lightens the energy, relaxes the (self-imposed) pressure and more often than not, helps me to NOT make the mistake!

I’ll walk you through it here — give it a shot and let me know how it goes!


*UPDATE: I have indeed changed the name, it’s now Quick Ideas for Creative Action!


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